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Thread: Ambergris and CITES

  1. #1

    Default Ambergris and CITES

    I was just wondering if anyone else thinks its ridiculous that in Australia (and i think the US too) you can't legally sell ambergris (a hardened waxy substance formed from sperm whale vomit) despite the fact that it causes absolutely no harm to the animal it comes from and is virtually impossible to take from the animal by force since it takes decades to change into its valuable waxy form.

    my temper's just been stirred up since reading an article
    Ambergris find just spit in ocean | Herald Sun

    about a guy who found a chunk of it worth approximately $150,000 but who can't legally sell it internationally or domestically because it counts as an animal product prohibited by CITES laws.

    Does anyone else think its a case of endangered animal protection laws being taken too far?

  2. #2

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    I think alot of our Laws are written poorly, and in some cases over regulating and take it too far.

    Yes, this is a example of it

    Too bad he cant find some loophole to sell it, that would really suck to find something worth that much than realize that you cant do much with it.

  3. #3

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    Why would someone want to buy this stuff anyways?

  4. #4

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    Its almost a flawless fixative for traditional and luxury perfumery and it has a really interesting smell thats hard to fake, added to which a lot of people just want it because its hard to get and has pretty much always been considered a luxury item even though there are much cheaper chemicals that can be used to achieve almost exactly the same results

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Damienp View Post
    Does anyone else think its a case of endangered animal protection laws being taken too far?
    not me.
    and not because of a tag of 'endangered', either. think about this: if we weren't allowed to sell cow's milk, we wouldn't farm cows. realistically, we can't farm sperm whales the same way we farm cows - we have to 'farm' them in the open sea, just as certain nations do with harpoons.
    so, for the cause of not encouraging sperm whales to be seen as farmable goods, i think the law is correct. let's give them a break.

    additionally, there is no worthy use for 'whale spit'. perfume is for people who would rather mask the stench of their festering flesh than bathe.
    are such people really worth the effort and the risk?

  6. #6

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    whats the risk? its virtually impossible to 'farm' sperm whales for ambergris since its virtually unusable until its endured a vicious onslaught of weathering and sun damage for at least 10 years after it was first coughed up. Plus if someone wants to buy a luxury perfume with an ambergris base i dont see the harm in it since it hasn't involved mistreating the animal even in the slightest and is a naturally occurring substance

  7. #7

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    No, I don't think they're taking the law too far at all. It's vomit, which is pretty disgusting. I don't go outside, vomit a whole bunch, weather it for ten years, then go out and sell it. That's completely disgusting, right? Of course it is, so why are we messing around with whale vomit? I know that I would never buy a product with anything coughed up, or made from whale parts.
    Anyway, I didn't Google the stuff, but that's my two cents, based on the information I've read in the posts above!

  8. #8

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    but why should it be illegal to sell it to those who want it if its not harming the animal in anyway or contributing to their endangered status?

  9. #9

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    CITES has some other uniteded conciquences that I am aware of. to protect the sun bears in Asia the possesion of all bear gall bladders is banned. Even those from the very plentiful North American black bear that can be legally hunted. Every so often you hear about a hunter being fined and banned from hunting for keeping a gall bladder for personal use. If there was a legal way to sell them it could reduce poaching and bear farming. Hundreds of them are killed every year by hunters and game wardens.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by checkplease View Post
    No, I don't think they're taking the law too far at all. It's vomit, which is pretty disgusting. I don't go outside, vomit a whole bunch, weather it for ten years, then go out and sell it. That's completely disgusting, right? Of course it is, so why are we messing around with whale vomit?
    It's useful in the production of cosmetics.

    Personally, if I knew someone would give me $150,000 for some puke's been sitting on the sidewalk for ten years, I'd be outside right now.

    ---------- Post added at 23:10 ---------- Previous post was at 23:03 ----------



    Quote Originally Posted by Damienp View Post
    but why should it be illegal to sell it to those who want it if its not harming the animal in anyway or contributing to their endangered status?
    There are times when permitting sustainably-sourced materials is much, much more expensive for society than it is to simply ban the trade altogether. The fines have to be steep enough and enforcement of procurement standards has to be rigorous enough to make it not worthwhile for people to acquire the material in ways society deems unacceptable. In some cases, like logging, the industry is valuable enough to society to make it worthwhile for society to spend the money to enforce regulations on procurement. Lumber is used to build homes. Ambergris is used to make Chanel No. 5.

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